Nathan Mendenhall is a social media professional with both B2B and B2C experience. He has worked with brands in a variety of different industries to create actionable social media communities and dynamic content strategies.
Graduating college can be a time of excitement and ambition. Hundreds of thousands of young people enter the job market ready to take the world by storm. While a college education does mean that you are qualified for some positions, there are some pearls of wisdom that can’t be learned in a classroom. Here are a few almost tidbits that I have learned along the way that might help a recent college graduate.
You might have had a 4.0 GPA or aced that super hard midterm, but that doesn’t mean you know enough to impact the job market. Be prepared to re-learn how to apply your studies in a real world environment. You might be packed with knowledge, but it is likely that you have not been shown how to put it into action. Taking theory and putting it into practices is a skill that comes with some working experience and until you reach that point, you don’t know anything. Accepting the fact that you don’t know it all is a critical first step to learning. After all, acceptance is the first step.
Shut Up and Listen
Embarrassing yourself is something that just comes with starting off in a new position. You can avoid moments of red-faced embarrassment by shutting up and listening. If you are talking, you certainly are not listening. How are you supposed to learn if you are constantly rebutting or rationalizing? Simply listen. There are many times where you can miss an important detail or nuance of a project because you were spending time discussing it. Unless you are asking a relevant question, listening is one of the most important things you can do.
Aside from listening, asking questions is another important thing that college grads seem to forget to do. It is the same as the classroom, there are no dumb questions. The consequence of not asking questions in the classroom is a few points off of a test. In the workplace, not asking a question can lead to loss revenue. If you think you don’t understand a direction, ASK! There is no shame in verifying a task or objective and more than likely your superiors will appreciate that you ask. Be sure you are clear on any task that you are given and save yourself the stress of making a silly mistake.
Read, Read, Read
It’s natural to have some free time throughout the work day, but what do you do with it? Check your Facebook or maybe tweet a bit? I have a better idea, READ! Why not use any free time that you have in a proactive way? No matter what your industry, there is sure to be a bunch of credible websites reporting the best practices or latest trends. I can’t emphasize how important this is. Over time, you will become a knowledgeable part of your team and people will start coming to you for answers. Managers will notice this. Not only is it good for your immediate position, but it will make you a better-rounded employee. The more you know, the more valuable you are to your team.